Songs As Stories: A Scrapbook of Daydreams

1 *Inspired by the song “Wild One” by I Am Harlequin

That kind of relationship is doomed before it even begins,” her mother warned. “His type…they can’t be faithful, it isn’t in their genetic makeup.” But Alison paid no heed and fell head first in love with the living embodiment of a daydream.

She thought she’d made the right decision. What did her mother know? And in the beginning, Alison felt vindicated because he was always there for her, never once realizing that was the normal way daydreams functioned, recurring whenever the mind was idle.

The daydream held her in bed and distracted her with his essence so that she drifted off to sleep without the usual brain clutter that triggered her chronic insomnia, and made sure he was the first sight Alison saw when she woke up. He never slept. What use would a daydream have with sleep? He simply watched her and waited until she began her cute pattern of soft snoring, before taking a stroll through her mind.

He never spoke. He preferred instead to flash images in Alison’s mind. Naturally, he knew exactly what he was doing. Knew he owned the keys to her heart and soul and, as often was the case with the person in control within a relationship, he doled out his attention and affection in small doses. She tried, really tried her best not to be greedy and not to demand more but that, like with most things, was easier said than done.

Then one morning, after he laid her head on the pillow to rest the night before, as he had done numerous times before, he was gone. No note that indicated where he was off to or when he would have returned.

Then began the dark times. Seconds, minutes, hours stretched into the forever period of withdrawal, where Alison was crushed beneath the pressure of constant craving, when her heart sat within her chest like so much dead weight.

And after the craving stage had crept along at its snail’s pace, along came the self-examination stage to fill the void. What had she done wrong? Was she too needy? Smothering? And when she grew weary of guessing, of trying to rewrite the past as if that would have somehow altered the present so that he was still here with her, Alison tried to find a place for him in her past. A drawer or compartment where he could have remained tucked away until such time as she was stronger and more capable of dealing with the memory of him.

Forgetting him might have been much easier if not for the images he filled Alison’s head with, the stories weaved through pictures. They remained and were strongest when the dawn approached. That must have been when he left.

When her mother visited, she asked, “Why can’t you look me in the eye?

I don’t want to do the whole I told you so thing, Mom,” Alison replied.

When have I ever done that?

You don’t say the words, but I can see it in your eyes.

That’s a lie and we both know it,” her mother said. “The truth is you don’t respect me, maybe rightfully so.

Respect you? You’re a drunk, Mom. I’m sorry, there’s no other way to say it.” The words were out of Alison’s mouth before she could stop them.

I’m a recovering alcoholic…

Po-tay-to, po-tah-to. I mean, why would I take advice from a woman whose life is a shambles? Your drinking didn’t only wreck your marriage, it destroyed my family! So, how are you wiser than me when it comes to affairs of the heart?

Her mother exhaled slowly. “I understand more than you realize. You think you’re the only one who’s ever gone through what you’re going through, and that’s not necessarily your fault. When you’re young, you always feel that way.

But I’m here to tell you, kiddo, you’re not the first or only person to fall in love with a daydream. Not only did it happen to me, but I convinced him to marry me and we had you.

Dad?

Yeah. You think your father left because I drank, and that’s my fault because I should have explained it to you, but I didn’t know how. The truth is I started drinking when I felt him slipping away. I tried to hold on the best way I knew how but the inherent problem with a daydream, even a recurring one, is that they’re never meant to stay in one place for very long. They’re born to stray.

Oh. Mom… !” Alison hugged her mother as tightly as she could. She hoped somehow her mother could feel just how sorry she was about everything that happened between them over the years.

Realizing what a fool she had been, and instead of living in a past relationship and trying to hold her life together with spit and string, Alison chose to work on rebuilding the relationship with her mother, a woman who was stronger than she ever realized.

And every now and then, when there was that familiar twinge in Alison’s heart, a fast but powerful thought of her wild one, her mother helped her collect the stories in a scrapbook of daydreams. But Alison hadn’t done it for herself, she did it for the little one who would be arriving any day now.

Her daughter deserved to know about her father.

– Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

View From the Window

View From the Window

The hospital room was designated for specific types of patients. That was the first thing the two men had in common. Their illnesses, although extremely different in their makeup, were classified as terminal. Edmond, the older of the two by a decade, was positioned upright in bed by the nurses for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His was the bed was next to the only window in the room.

The man in the other bed, Rudolph, was forced to remain on his back. An uneasy relationship at first as was the norm when strangers in pain were thrust together, the men slowly opened a line of communication and soon they began speaking for hours. They spoke of their ex-wives and estranged families, their homes, their jobs, the exotic and less so places they vacationed. And every afternoon when Edmond could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to Rudolph all the things he spot outside the window.

Rudolph lived for those hour long breaks where his life was broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.

“The view overlooks a park with a spectacular lake, Rudy,” Edmond said. “Ducks and swans are playing on the water. A father is actually sailing a remote controlled boat with his son. A young couple is kissing on the benches beside the flower bushes…”

“What about the city skyline, Eddie? Can you see it over the trees?” Rudolph asked.

“In clear view.” Edmond replied. And as he described the outside world in exquisite detail, Rudolph closed his eyes and imagined the picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon Edmond described a parade passing by. Although Rudolph couldn’t hear the band, he saw it in his mind’s eye just as clearly as his roommate portrayed it in descriptive words. Then an unexpected and sinister thought entered his mind.

Why should he get to see everything while I’m lying in bed dying, unable to see a goddammed thing?

It didn’t seem fair.

Almost as soon as the thought hit, Rudolph felt ashamed. But as the days passed into weeks and he missed seeing more and more sights, his envy eroded to resentment. He began to brood and found himself unable to sleep.

I should be by that window!

That thought and that thought alone now consumed the entirety of his being.

Then late one sleepless night as Rudolph lay staring at the ceiling, Edmond began to cough, choking on the fluid in his lungs. Rudolph watched in the dimly lit room as his so-called friend with the widow view groped for the button to call for help.

Listening from across the room Edmond never moved, never pushed his own button which would have most assuredly brought the night nurse running in. Although it seemed longer, it was a mere five minutes before the coughing and choking stopped, along with that the sound of labored breathing. Now there was only silence. A deathly silence.

The following morning the day nurse discovered Edmond’s lifeless body when she brought in water for their baths. Rudolph resented the sadness displayed by the nurse and the hospital attendants as they took the body away.

Rudolph forced himself to be patient and when it seemed appropriate, he asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it all himself. He strained to turn and looked out the window.

It faced a blank wall.

Later, Rudolph asked the nurse what could have compelled Edmond to lie about the wonderful things he saw outside this window?

The nurse replied, “You mean you didn’t know? He couldn’t have described anything outside the window, not even the wall. He was blind. Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.”

Sally forth and quit being envious of what other have and start being appreciative what you’ve gottingly writeful.

— Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys